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Dec 18, 2019

Gujarat Balmanch, leadership camp and sports day

Balsena girl during activity at Gujarat Bal Manch
Balsena girl during activity at Gujarat Bal Manch

Child Right Training and Resource Centre:

Child Right Training and Resource Centre (CRTRC) is a program to share our learning and knowledge with other organizations and also learn from them.


Wenlido is a feministic self-defence form for personal safety. It is taught to only girls and women.

On 14th and 15th September Shaishav Wenlido trainers participated in Wenlido trainer’s Network meeting. Trainers shared about the difficulties they face and also about next year planning to train new trainers.

8 Wenlido trainings with 157 girls were conducted with Balsena girls. 3 Trainings with 61 girls were conducted with Aashramshalas (residential school for tribal children) girls of Dediapada block in Narmada district. The challenges that these tribal girls face are unique. They are taught to not speak or speak very less from very young age in their culture. Girls get married at young age and have children at very young age too, this hampers their growth not just physically but mentally as well as they take on responsibility of their house and children and are unable to study further.


Nine is Mine:

Parulben from Shaishav participated in meeting in of Nine is mine campaign which is run by Pratyek on 16th September. The meeting was to share plan about launch of children’s parliament in the country and how we can support each other.

Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan:

Samagra shiksha abhiyan is primary education department of the government. Under SSA Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya run as residential school for girls in each block. The responsibility of these K.G.B.Vs is on Gender coordinator in each district.

Parulben gave training to gender coordinator and wardens on protection policy and how to make the same for the girls in K.G.B.Vs.

Gujarat Bal Manch:

Gujarat Bal Manch is collective of children’s collectives of Gujarat and it is facilitated by CRC-G (Child rights collective Gujarat) The children celebrated 30 years of UNCRC (United Nation’s Convention on Rights of Child) and learnt in detail about their rights, right to participation and participatory elections. Children also learnt about Gandhiji and his values through games. They learnt how to spin Charkha as well. 38 Boys and 25 girls participated from 14 organization in 13 districts of Gujarat.

Dandi yatra (Salt March):

During the independence struggle of India Gandhiji initiated a unique Satyagraha- Salt march in Gujarat. He walked from his Aashram in Ahemdabad to Dandi beach in South Gujarat.

This year to commemorate his 150th birth year CRC-G along with UNICEF did a Dandi yatra to spread awareness about child rights during Child Rights Week- 14th -20th November. It was recently found that Gandhi signed first draft of Convention of child right in 1930 for India. We spread awareness about this too.

Shaishav played a key role in organization and implementation of this Yatra.

On 20th November celebration of International Child Rights Day was held in Ahmedabad along with closure of Dandi March. UNICEF launched a book on the occasion “My Letter to UNICEF.” 3 of Balsena children are featured in this book. They have written about what they further demand from UNICEF. 18 Balsena children participated on this day.

Training with VGTK:

VGTK is running a rural vocational training centre for tribal youth. Shaishav has been facilitating with them regularly to teach them life skills. On 16th November Shaishav team facilitated a workshop with them on Team building. 12 adult facilitators and 150 youth participated in the same.

Feminist Leadership Training:

Aanandi Organization which is a leading organization working with women and children launched a Feministic Leadership Course for facilitators. Alpeshbhai and Dakshaben, two of our facilitators who have been working with us for a long time have joined this course. They learnt about how to design tools to teach about participation as well as tools that are participatory in nature.

Consultation on situation of child protection in India:

Parulben participated in a meeting at Delhi on finding out the situation of child protection in the country focusing on child trafficking and child sexual abuse. She further co-facilitated Western region consultation on 23rd and 24th November in Pune. This entire consultation was organized by ICPF (Indian Child Protection Fund).

Film Shooting:

Shaishav is celebrating its completion of 25 years of working in Bhavnagar. We decided to make a film about our work and its impact on children, youth and the society. From 25th November to 2nd December the film was shot and then worked on editing till 8th December. We are excited to see the final outcome.

Computer MS Excel Training:

Sewa Rural organized a training on MS Excel and how to use it to analyse data of research and surveys and how to best present those data. 3 team members from Shaishav participated in the same.

Wisdom Weekend with Kamla Bhasin:

Kamala Bhasin is one of the leading feminist and social activist of the country. Swaraj University organized wisdom weekend from 6th – 8th December. Kamalaji shared her life stories and about gender, patriarchy and how it affects men as well. Isha from Shaishav participated in this event.

Sports Day training:

Sports days were celebrated in Balsena zone wise. CRTRC team developed manuals for 25 new games and trained the staff for the same. 80 volunteers were also trained to provide support during annual program with theme of Sports.

Training on Child Protection Policy:

Shaishav holds the right to protection of children very important. We have a child protection policy in place as well. Annual training on child protection policy was held on 11th October with the entire Shaishav team. The policy was also reviewed as well to improve the policy for more cyber safety.



Exposure Visit:

251 Children from Balsena visited exhibition on life of Gandhiji. The children learnt about life of Gandhiji and about his Satyagraha. The exhibition was set up in form of Gandhi Aashram in Ahmedabad which provided children with an opportunity to see that as well. They learnt about spinning and its importance.

Shaishav visit:

Since the exhibition was near Shaishav office we took this opportunity for children to visit office as well. Many new children had not seen it. They got introduced to office and child line staff and their work.

Navaratri celebration:

Navaratri is a festival of Gujarat which continues for 9 nights, where people gather in night to celebrate by dancing together. Balsena children celebrated Navaratri in their zones. 288 children participated in the same.

Zonal Sports:

Sports days were celebrated in zones with games like bear dance, back to back, magician villain and elf, etc. 290 boys and 299 girls participated in the zones. Children learnt to keep their body balanced, listening carefully, focusing and thinking on their feet.

Leadership camp:

Leadership camp was held on 7th – 9th November with council members and active members. 57 children took part in this camp. The theme of this residential camp was communication, creativity and self-awareness. Children learnt about what is communication, types of communication, realising their dreams, bringing out their creativity etc. For example children were given one scarf and were told to come up with different uses for the same. The children came up with more than 150 uses of a scarf. Children also learnt to do presentation in different manner. They presented what they learnt through different mediums like theatre play, songs, news reading, speaking etc. In communication they also learnt about communicating through body language, talking clearly, asking for clarification listening intently.

When one of the child fell sick during the camp all the children took care of him very nicely. They made sure he ate, didn’t feel cold, took medicine and was comfortable. We were touched and felt very happy when we saw this.

Council and active children’s meeting:

3 meetings of council and active children were held. 44 children attended these meeting on an average. Children discussed about programs in their point, issues that came up in Child Protection Committee meeting, challenges they face, and about taking actions after bullying research. Children presented problem that some of their parents consume alcohol, and they solved problem by deciding that they would take way of Satyagraha of Gandhiji, and would keep fast if their parents drink.

Sports Day
Sports Day
Exposure Visit
Exposure Visit
Leadership Camp: Activity of Goal Setting
Leadership Camp: Activity of Goal Setting
Oct 30, 2019

Pots and Beans and stories of change

Pots and Beans:

Pots and beans activity was designed by Save the Children, UK to learn quality of participation. We have done this activity before with children during time of Comic Relief grant, and we found it very useful. 385 children from community took part in the activity.

Children voted on 9 criteria out of 3 marks. One being the lowest and three being the highest. The voting done in open manner with discussion and taken by consensus. Overall average (all our 20 community) is 2.67 out of 3. The criteria are as following: 1. Inclusiveness. 2. Transparent and informative 3. Child friendly 4. Relevant for children 5. Supported by training 6. Accountable 7. Respectful 8. Safe and sensitive to risks 9. Voluntarily.

Many children also believe that we do not discriminate and each programs and festivals are celebrated together. They shared that facilitators give them all the information and explain to our parents and take consent from them. We are shown all the accounts of Savings Bank program. Facilitators don’t ever hit us or call us without respect. All the programs are relevant for children but maybe sometimes difficult to understand for the younger ones. The feedback from children was that between children they sometimes disrespect each other which needs to be worked upon. Many times Shaishav facilitators send us back later than the time we were told. However, some boys do feel excluded as only girls are given self-defence training.

Stories of change:

When we hear stories of impact of our work, it helps us navigate further. Every 6 months we do focused group discussions with Balsena children, community members and parents and teacher as well. Following are some of the stories we heard from these focused group discussions.

  • Sohan (name changed) recently joined Balsena. He used many curse words and beat up other children. As he started coming to Balsena the other children treated him well and also gave him small responsibilities. Slowly his behaviour improved as he felt that he truly belonged here. He started taking up more responsibilities, he organized Swayam pak(cooking together and eating) event entirely and took major responsibility.
  • Asmi (name changed) was around 12/13 years when her father was detected with cancer. She dropped out of school to take care of her father. Her father passed away after some months. When she was around 15 she was attacked by 3 middle aged men in her home. They had some fights with her family and when she was alone at home, they hit her head and tore all her clothes. Asmi was terrified after this happened. She refused to go out of her house. She became very quiet, would stay alone and not talk to many people. The rare case she came out of her house, it would always be with her uncles. Asmi came for Wenlido training(Feminist self defence training) last year. She was 16 then. She got so much inspiration after the training and found the answers she was looking for. After the training, for the first time she went home with one of her friends who stayed nearby. She was beyond happy, and called the trainers, “I went home by myself!” She came again for practice groups, and again for Wenlido trainings. Seeing her so interested we also kept calling her. Slowly we saw her confidence bloom. She started coming out of her house on her own.

Today she assists the trainers in the trainings very enthusiastically. She even travelled with trainers outside Bhavnagar to provide training in other organization, which was her first time out of Bhavnagar district. She loves helping other girls find their answers.  In her words:

“I felt so hopeless and powerless after that incident. I went inside my shell. Wenlido helped me in overcoming my fear. I found my strength. I can come out of the house alone now. I love
helping other girls who are also looking for ways to come out of their difficulties. Everyone should take this training. “

Asmi dreams to become a trainer of Wenlido.

  • 8 years old Kanan(name changed) came forward to give his savings for the saving bank account. He gave coins, and told this is 10 Rs. The facilitator was in a hurry to finish Saving bank work so she took them, kept them in the saving bank bag and wrote 10 Rs in the card and register. Little later Kanan came back saying please take this 1 rupee for saving bank. The facilitator told him that she can’t make entry for less than 5 Rs, so give it next week. Kanan shook his head explaining, “No, this 1 Rupee must have been in my pocket while I was giving you my savings, I have only given you 9 Rs, take this 1 Rupee” If he wished he could have kept that one rupee but he chose to be honest.
  • When we asked children in Focused group discussion boys shared that they are comfortable if girls are leader and girls shared that when they take leadership they feel supported by boys as well. Boys shared that some of them have started doing work in the house. Some boys also shared that they tell their fathers and brothers to work at home and support their mothers and sisters. 
Oct 21, 2019

Study tour and Networking

Study tours:

Study tours are a way for us to keep learning from people who are implementing similar ideas. 

Sambhavana Institute:
Sambhavana institute is situated in Himachal Pradesh. It is an alternative learning space for children and youth to build different perspective on different systems that we operate through. They also run an alternative school for primary children of the village. The children learn through doing practical things.
Aavishkar is also situated in Himachal Pradesh which teaches maths and science to children in very practical and fun way. Instead of mugging up children can learn and understand the principles with concept clarity.
Lok Mitra:
Lok Mitra is a wonderful grassroots organization in a small village called Dedhuki in Rajkot district, Gujarat. It is initiated by a Gandhian couple. They have done several experiments with active support and engagement of local communities. They are running a Kindergarten, Community Development Work etc. With children they run after school programme called Killol. Here the children learn many innovative activities through which they can earn something. Their latest initiative is called “Kshala” which is a Self Designed Learning space for village children. The children plan their own learning using the Gandhian principle of using Hand, Heart and Head. All the three are given equal importance. These children are usually school dropouts and there are more girls. They not only study their but also manage their whole space. They cook and eat together. They live with community living principle. We learn a lot by interacting with these young people and the founders themselves. We also observed and interacted with the local community and children of kindergarten and Killol. This visit was very useful for our Aaranyak project.

Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan:
K.M.V.S. has been working with women and their collectives since eighties. They have helped in building more than seven women’s collectives. The leaders of these women’s collectives and the grassroots women are in leadership positions today. They are also working with adolescent girls.

Hunar Shala and Karigar Shala:
Hunar shala and Karigar shala works with the Artisans’ community. Hunarshala revives vernacular method of architecture and construction and give them a modern twist. Karigar shala trains youth in vocational skills like eco-construction, carpentry etc. The youth learn to live independently and learn about dignity and pride in these traditional and vocational skills.

Shishu Kunj:
We met Shri. Rameshbhai who is a Gandhian and has been working with children in Kutch for decades. He is working with children to educate them with principles of Gandhiji. He is also an editor of a magazine called “Shaswat Gandhi.”
We visited ‘Dhanvantari’ school which is associated with Shishu Kunj. The school is for children with special abilities and needs. We played cooperative games with deaf and dumb students of the school. We also learnt about their project with four different communities of nomadic tribe. We also had a deep interaction and mutual sharing about our work and learnt about theirs with the core team of Shishukunj.


Meeting with Shri Dilipbhai:

We also met Dilipbhai who has rich experience of over four decades of work in tribal areas and he enthusiastically supports for inner development of the team. He gave us suggestions to develop our inner strength further. 

A Global Conference on “In search of wellbeing: Rethinking Education and Decoding Economics” :
Bhoomi college, Bangalore organized a Global conference with the theme of “In search of wellbeing: Rethinking Education and Decoding Economics.” The conference put emphasis on environment and climate crisis, education in schools and learning space as we are also a prominent part of the system. Isha from Shaishav participated in it. It was good to learn a few new concepts and also network with many like-minded people and groups.

We also met some educators who are working in Dediapada from past few years to understand situations of education and to understand about children and how they learn.

Due to very heavy monsoon in Dediapada and flooding our team was not able to do work at Dediapada. We are hoping that from next month we will be able to do more work on the ground. 

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